To ensure free as well as fair elections and as a step towards ensuring a level playing field for all candidates, it is imperative that the Legislative Assembly be dissolved and a spell of President’s rule be imposed, while the elections are being held. This would help towards curbing misuse of official machinery to influence voters.

Political parties and candidates must be also held accountable to the election promises they make and to all that has been scripted in their manifestos. Any form of horse trading and swinging from party to party soon after the election must never be allowed as it is an insult to the electorate who are taken for a ride. It is well known that the only reason for reneging on pre-election promises and allegiances are purely for personal development through the greed of the rupee and lust for power.  

At the Goa Assembly elections held last month the Election Commission officials helplessly watched the rampant distribution of cash and other inducements to the voters. It all happened in broad daylight while the authorities chose to merrily look the other way. An Election Commission with no bite or bark and without the will or the resources to act swiftly on any abuses of the agreed process and rule of law is a recipe for disaster and will always lead to division and disagreement over the validity of the outcome of the elections in a democracy. 

The BJP in these elections more than their voters should be thankful to those parties it had drafted in to split the votes so that the BJP could craftily and deviously retain power. These parties successfully carried out that vote splitting agenda assigned to them by the cash rich BJP. A well executed ploy it was.

The whole concept and intent of Elections is rendered futile unless radical changes are put in place with the necessary checks and balances to ensure that the result of any election truly reflects the hopes and aspirations of the voters. There can be and must not be any room for manipulation, abuse or distortion of the election process where the electorate is given the sacred and cherished duty to elect their representatives of integrity and competence to fulfill their needs and hopes without fear or favour. Failure to achieve a fair, transparent and meaningful election process in a democracy will lead to voter apathy and mistrust in any government.

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